The convincing win advances Gladstone to its third state final in four years.

Gladstone coach Steve Thomas said that sophomore goalkeeper Molly Webster saved the Gladiators’ bacon in last week’s semifinal of the Class 4A high school girls soccer playoffs.

Thomas said that Scappoose dominated the play in the first half and that Gladstone would have dug itself a sizable first-half deficit had it not been for Webster’s heroics in-goal.

Webster had 10 saves in the game, and Gladstone went scoreless in the first half, as the Gladiators rallied to beat the second-ranked Scappoose Indians 4-1. It was the first time all season that the Indians had given up as many as four goals. Scappoose’s only goal was an own-goal late in the game.

“Molly saved us in the first half,” Thomas said. “They took it to us. We weren’t clearing the ball out very well, and Molly made two stupendous saves to save our bacon. One was a flat-out dive, where her hand was like glue and she somehow hung onto the ball. The other was a diving deflection.

“Molly played great all through the game. She had a total of 10 saves and she made the rest of them look easy because she was in perfect position, which is what good goalies do.”

Gladstone star forward Amber Jensen was the Indians’ worst nightmare on offense, scoring two goals and assisting on the Gladiators’ other two goals.

The Gladiators broke a scoreless tie just 47 seconds into the second half. Jensen sent the ball ahead to Cheyenne Stubblefield, who nailed a goal from around 25 yards out.

Barely 10 minutes later, Jensen won a goal kick and pushed the ball through the defense to Kelsey Hathaway, who scored from the top of the 18-yard box.

Jensen iced the game with 13 minutes left to play, taking a gap pass from Hathaway, dribbling ahead 20 yards and hammering the ball home from the 18.

Scappoose answered with the own-goal with just five minutes to play, scoring off a spinning cross that deflected off a Gladstone defender and into the net.

Jensen ran onto a ball from Hathaway for a close-in shot and goal to gain the Gladiators’ their final tally.

Thomas said a change in formations helped turn the tide in the second half.

“We used the same people, but a different formation [in the second half]....,” Thomas said. “And we passed the ball, instead of dribbling. They have better skill than us, but we have better athletes. We figured if we passed the ball through the gaps on defense and then ran onto the ball, we could outrun them, and that’s what we did.”

Thomas singled out Hathaway for her execution, playing distributor from the “puppy-wolf forward” position in the second half.

Scappoose (15-2-0) entered the game riding a 12-game win string and the Indians’ only other blemish in an otherwise perfect season was a 3-0 loss to 2011 Class 3A/2A/1A state champion Oregon Episcopal School on Sept. 20.

The win avenged a 1-0 Gladiator loss to Scappoose in a preseason game played at Scappoose on Sept. 13.

The Indians had outscored 16 previous opponents 114-10 heading into last week’s semifinal with Gladstone.

Jensen’s two goals in the semifinal were the 100th and 101st of her high school career. With the goals she joined only four other players in the history of Oregon high school girls soccer who have scored 100 goals — Hillsboro’s Tiffeny Milbrett (a state record 131 goals), Jesuit’s Laura Schott, Scappoose’s Ariel Viera and Tualatin’s Anna-Maria Popma.

The win advanced the defending state champion Gladiators to Saturday’s state final with an undefeated and No. 1-ranked team from Mazama (13-0-1). The Skyline Conference champion Vikings were state semifinalists in 2011, when they dropped their semi to Sisters 3-2 on penalty kicks in overtime.

“This team seems to rise to the level of the competition and Mazama will be the toughest team they’ve played, so I expect good things,” Thomas said of the upcoming final with the Mazama Vikings.

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